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iReview | CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS: Paragons Rising

35 years after the event that reshaped the DC Comics multiverse, its relevance has continued to inspire across mediums, into the primetime series and now back again, as The CW event inspires Marv Wolfman to contribute two more acts to the tale!

Legendary comic book scribe Marv Wolfman could hardly have imagined 35 years later how relevant and influential his and George Pérez’s seminal work 1985’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” would be crossing all forms of media and continuing to inspire more stories into the new millennium. The original 12-issue maxi-series redefined 50 years of DC comics continuity and would inspire several sequels and similar events, leading up to a primetime adaptation and the ultimate crossover this past season on The CW.

Over a series of five primetime hours, the DCTV expanded universe, interconnected over 30 years of DC live-action culminating in the redefining of the “Arrowverse” with an Earth-Prime world that inhabits the heroes of The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman and Black Lightning as the show that started it all Arrow signed-off the air after 8-seasons, inspiring a new generation, passing the bow and arrow to a deserving new Green Arrow (more on that story soon — we hope).

If you thought the story was over with the epic final battle against the Anti-Monitor in the final hour of the “Crisis” crossover, that revealed the fate of Oliver Queen’s and his ultimate sacrifice which “reboots” the DCTV expanded universe, promising a whole new multiverse is alive and well, think again! In the just-released Crisis on Infinite Earths: Paragons Rising The Deluxe Edition hardback, “Arrowverse” executive producer Marc Guggenheim (and the television “Crisis” architect) teamed up with Wolfman to add two new chapters to the epic story.

Paragons Rising

Given the budget of constraints of television, there were some stories that had to be “left on the cutting room floor” in order to keep the 5-part “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover moving at a breakneck pace, without overtaxing the talent (not to mention the audience). There’s a mention in the story of The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) having enlisted fan favorite Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) to help him identify the “paragons” — heroes among them that had the additionally incalculable responsibility of “restarting” the multiverse.

That story is revealed in the comic book version by Guggenheim and Wolfman, and details Felicity’s journey through the multiverse with the help of Earth-X’s The Ray and Arrow supporting cast member Nyssa Al Ghul, to seek out the identities of the paragons; a task she is set upon by The Monitor. It’s during the course of this journey, that Felicity is told of Oliver’s sacrifice as the first ant-matter wave strikes Earth-38, the home of Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) as detailed in Part One of “Crisis”. She also discovers that Oliver’s fate is not sealed and has a greater purpose.

Guggenheim and Wolfman perfectly fill in some of the outside arcs that fans might have wanted to see play out, but with television being television, it is only fitting that the pair give this additional story its just deserves in a comic book form after all “Crisis” started as a comic book and has endured a 35-year legacy that is still firing the imagination. There’s an additional story in the book, with some wonderful production art from the television event, along with notes from the writers and creatives.

Flash Forward

Meanwhile, the DC multiverse is facing a new “crisis”, one that only the fastest man alive can save it from, although this time it’s Barry Allen’s protege, Wally West that is carrying the burden. After the original Silver Age hero tempted fate and caused a “FlashPoint” in time, the subsequent interference from an atomic god watching as the events unfurled, left the continuity irrevocably damaged — the eventual “Rebirth” and return of Wally West, one of the missing figures in the altered timeline, has lead to the displaced hero’s attempt to correct the fractured history.

In the Flash Forward mini-series, out and available now in a complete volume edition, the storyline follows Wally West as he searches for answers, only to discover that on the flip-side of it all, the Dark Multiverse is the real threat that is keeping him from finding his missing kids and tearing at the balance between the Light and Dark multiverses. Written by Scott Lobdell with art by comic’s favorite Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund the galactic adventure is a trip through the Dark Multiverse and answers that Wally may never have seen coming.

In order to save everything Wally West, The Flash, must become something else entirely, inheriting one of the universe’s most prized articles of power, The Flash now sits on the Mobius Chair, once the seat of power for the New God, Metron (and at another time under the service of the Anti-Monitor, himself) and the very tangled fabric of the multiverse is at his fingertips. Using the power of the Mobius Chair, Wally is able to decipher that the Dark Universe in which he has “pocketed” his children was manifested from his own fears.

In order to set things right, he must face those fears, but it comes at a great cost! The Mobius Chair and its power along with The Flash himself are now one, and the multiverse and all its secrets are open to them...that is when he makes the ultimate realization: the timeline is maddeningly fractured! Between the many infinite crises it faced, the “FlashPoint” event, the ticking down to “Doomsday”, it’s all out of alignment. Historical events have repeated, unaware of their place in a long legacy; the Golden Age of heroes disconnected from history.

In the “Generation Zero: Gods Among Us” epilogue, printed for the first time in this collected edition, Wally attempts to correct the timeline and set things right; it takes him some effort with his new cosmic-level abilities he’s able to assert some structure. The original Teen Titans reform and years later, a new generation inspired by them follows in their footsteps; just like the Justice Society inspired the rise of the Justice League, and Wonder Woman boldly battled for truth and justice along with both legacies, but as the timeline comes close to the present...

The Flash discovers, there is someone or something determined to cause all manner of chaos and prevent any of Earth’s heroes from surviving the coming of a new crisis. This new threat was born in the shadows of the Dark Multiverse and has dug itself deeply like cancer growing, killing everything in its line of sight. In order to save the multiverse, The Flash must face the corruption at the center of it all...if he’s to save the next generation of heroes, he must stop The Batman Who Laughs from destroying everything!

Crisis on Infinite Earths: Paragons Rising | The Deluxe Edition written by Marv Wolfman and Marc Guggenheim with art by Tom Derenick and Tom Grummett is available now in a hardcover edition for $17.99 from DC Comics.

Flash Forward | written by Scott Lobdell with art by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund is available now in a paperback edition for $17.99 from DC Comics.

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